Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What we learned on Tuesday

Everyone still wants to know about the QB situation, so here's the story: Chris Todd is the starter. He will be the starter unless coaches see a reason for change. If I had to bet, and thankfully I don't, I would bet Todd plays every offensive snap barring injury.
Some of my fellow beat writers have come to Todd's defense this week in conversation. They say his throws were held up by the wind on Saturday night. There was a stiff wind, but not a 30 mph wind or anything of that magnitude. It's something that most experienced QBs would have been accustomed to, I believe. Regardless, Todd still has plenty of people who think he's more than capable of leading this team.
Frankly, so do I. I believe Todd is the safer choice between he and Kodi Burns. Here's the problem with that: HC Tommy Tuberville hired OC Tony Franklin to get away from safe choices. Safe choices got Auburn close to the top of the SEC, but not to the pinnacle.
In many ways, Todd is like Brandon Cox. He's consistent, he manages the game well and he's not a run threat. Todd, damaged shoulder and all, probably has a better arm than Cox. Still, that's the exact type of QB Auburn fans have hoped to get away from. That's why I think there's been so much hostility toward the decision to start Todd.
I do think Todd gives Auburn a better chance to win in one week, but Burns has significantly more upside. He has a grasp on the offense, but doesn't always execute properly under the lights. That's a significant problem.
My real question is simple: If Auburn is so intent to run the ball, as it was against Mississippi State, why not go to the better running option? Seems simple.

Enough QBs. On to the RBs. Several beat writers think Brad Lester will start this week. I'm not yet among them. I'm often skeptical of players "having a long way to go before they play," but in this instance, with a neck injury, there will likely be more caution. Still, if the decision is really Lester's, he'll be in the lineup. Either way, Ben Tate has been the featured back so far this year. Tristan Davis is at least proving he's healthy. Eric Smith didn't play Saturday and is probably in the doghouse for his fumble against USM, but has proven capable as well. RB is not an issue for Auburn.

The players understand how big this week's game is. I will have a story on this for Saturday's paper, but in speaking to the players, this has an Iron Bowl-type build-up. If you're a fan of defense, you should be excited as well. LSU is loaded with NFL talent. Auburn has one of the nation's most stout defenses. A word of gambling advice (not that I encourage that type of thing): Take the under.

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